How To Design A Great Logo

Where do we start?

In order to design a great logo we need to understand the basic purpose of a logo. Why do companies need a logo? To solve this question I took a look at the meaning of the word logo. This is the definition according to Wikipedia:

A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition.

The most important words in this phrase are ‘instant public recognition’. A good logo is easily recognized and can’t be confused with other logos. When you see it in a magazine, on a website or on a billboard, you instantly know the company behind it.

Of course this is easier said than done. What makes a logo instantly recognizable? Perhaps we can find the answer to this question by examining the logos of popular brands. What do the logos from world famous brands such as Nike, Coca Cola and McDonals have in common?

Simplicity

Less is more. This famous saying is illustrated by these great logos. They don’t rely on complex shapes and stylish gradients. Instead they use only the bare essentials. A simple logo is usually a memorable logo and a memorable logo is a good logo. But don’t make it too simple. Your logo still has to stand out from the rest.

Flexibility

Every logo should be flexible when it comes to application and color. Your logo will be used on various media (print, online, mobile…) so it should be versatile enough to ensure a consistent presentation. Keep in mind that your logo will not always be printed in full color, so make sure that it has plenty of contrast to allow for black and white printing.

Scalability

Companies can use various types of communication channels; from small flyers to big billboards. This means that the size of your logo will vary depending on the medium it is printed on. That’s why a logo should be designed in vector format. Use vector-based programs (such as Adobe Illustrator) to design scale-proof logo. So no matter what they say; size does matter (at least in logo design).

Identity

Finally we need to understand that a logo never stands on its own. It’s part of a bigger picture: the brand’s identity. This is not only the logo and stationary of the brand but also the philosophy behind it. It represents the values of the company. For example: the WWF logo shows us that the company cares about wildlife. And if you’ve read our article about hidden messages in logos, you’ll know that the Amazon logo symbolises their extensive collection of products.

What’s your opinion?

What do you consider essential elements for a great logo? Post a comment and share it with the rest of us!

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6 thoughts on “How To Design A Great Logo

  1. The one thing I strive for above all is uniqueness.

    I don’t want to design a logo for someone that looks like somebody else’s, though often clients have seen a logo they like and want me to just recreate that one.

    Instead I try to help them understand what it is that they like about the design, for example, does it make clever use of negative space?

    Also, I only ever design in black and white and always finalise a design as much as I can on layout paper before starting to work digitally. I find this is actually much faster for making revisions and spotting errors and can lead to some “that’s cool” moments when you make a mistake.

  2. I agree, uniqueness is very important. There are plenty of logos out there that are a copy of another logo.

  3. For me, logo design is one of the trickier aspects of web design. The problem is, to truly do justice to a logo you need to spend many hours coming up with a design. But on the other hand the end design that you come up with can actually be extremely simple – something that would take a few minutes to re-create. So the tricky part is justifying the cost of the hours spent when the end result appears like it should have been a 30 minute job.

  4. That is why it’s called a logo design PROCESS: it’s about constant tweaking and feedback. A great logo is the result of hours of fine-tuning and hard work.

  5. A logo is like a baby, created for a cause, sometimes without a cause as long as it lives to give meaning. As it grows older and becomes known it represents yourself in the widest sense of the word. Everytime you look at it, it gives you the feeling of indescribable proudness and achievements.